Whenever a team comes together, they define and adjust the rules by which they play.
It might not be the conventional way to look at a team’s interaction, but it is a perspective one can take to think about the existing dynamics in the team. Those who want to step out of these rules will find themselves immediately confronted with another set of dynamics. These will mainly be either power dynamics or any dynamic linked to belonging.
The team knows these rules, they are how they recognize one another. It’s the way things are done in the team. It’s an aspect of the team’s culture.
The rules correspond to a set of behaviors considered appropriate in the team. They describe how the team achieves its tasks. These rules are adjusted by the team whenever internal or external circumstances change and require different behavior.
It’s worth making oneself aware of the written and unwritten rules. They help understand how to belong, but also how to take one’s place. Having an understanding of the rules enables team members to choose how they implement the rules and also which ones they pay attention to. It happens all the time, especially with unwritten rules. And it is part of the dynamic that changes the set of rules.
The ability to navigate these rules is what helps an individual to become a successful member of the team. Those team members who couple the ability to navigate rules with the ability to see which of these rules can be changed may choose to become leaders.